Friday, November 16, 2012

Surviving the Doubts of a 20-Something Woman

Everyone speaks fondly of “being in their 20s,” as they rightfully should. The 20s are an exciting time. These are the years in which we venture into the real world, begin a career, fall in love, take risks, fall flat on our faces, start a new career path, learn many life lessons, and meet our new families or our surrogate families.

These are years filled with questionable decisions, self reflection, many laughs, and memories that will last us a lifetime. Yet, they are also years filled with a little bit of insanity and self doubt. We no longer have someone to lean on, someone to blame, or someone to rely upon. Instead, our failures rest solely upon our shoulders, and more often than not, our journeys lack a tour guide.

Whether we are trying to decide whether or not to call that love interest back up for a third date or trying to walk the balance between dressing like a 19-year-old on girls gone wild and a cookie baking grandma, the 20s are a time of difficult decisions and trying to figure out who we are as individuals.

For me, my 20s have been a perpetual learning cycle. I have often asked questions like:

“Why don’t they make clothes that look both attractive and professional? I’m not 65.”

“Why won’t he call me? No, seriously, why won’t he call?”

“I think this one likes me a lot…but we have a problem. I don’t like him. Do I need to call him?”

“Could someone just go ahead and invent diet wine?”

“Am I going to lose my job?”

“Is this what I want to do with my life?”

That’s right. My inner crazy girl comes to the surface sometimes and decides to question every move I make—down to whichever pair of shoes I choose to wear with a particular outfit. But, luckily, I have found the secret to getting through these crazy girl moments.

The secret is to share them. Not with just anyone, mind you. I mean, can you imagine walking up to a potential love interest and regaling them with a story of how spanx seem to you a little bit like the torturous corset of the future or how you've been obsessing for the last 45 minutes about what "ok" meant in a text message? No ma’am. Don’t go there, but also don’t keep these inner dialogues and inner self doubts held inside your head where they can no doubt grow and multiply. Instead, share them with a trusted friend.

Find a 20s buddy—someone you can share your doubts, hopes, dreams, and insanity with. Thankfully, I have found mine, and she just happens to be both my best friend and roommate—which is highly convenient. We live together, we have no shame with one another, and we help each other navigate our way through the sometimes turbulent waters of the 20s.

I think that is the secret to finding happiness as a 20-something in today’s world. All we really need is one person who will accept us for who we are, who will talk us down when we need it most, who will help us hate the people who have wronged us—regardless of the reason, who will bring us pizza when we’ve been dumped, who will tell us honestly when the pants we try on look awful, who will occasionally bring us back to earth, who will challenge us to be better, who will remind us why we are special, and who will believe in us with fierce loyalty and love.

Then, we can make our way from the doubting 20s to the “roaring 20s,” if you will.
Also, it never hurts if you and your survival buddy have an amazing theme song, such as the one below:
"A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I often trust too much. I trust too soon. And, I trust those who deserve it the least. Upon coming to this realization, I have spent a lot of time trying to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, I get hurt a lot more than the average person. But, on the other hand, I get to see—if only briefly—the good in people that would otherwise go unrecognized.
I do not think that trust is a trait born of ignorance or of naivety. Instead, it is a trait born of a compassionate, tender hearted soul. Trust is not about letting others take advantage of you; but, it is about believing the best of people. It is about seeing past the flaws and scars of another and taking part in the genuine exchange of human emotion. Trust, then, is essential to understanding and to truly interacting with another person.
Just think about it. If we live life as cynics, we miss out on so many beautiful moments. We do not hear the sincerity in someone's voice. We do not get lost in a far off dream. We miss out on catching the light in someone's smile as they talk about what they love. We lose all sight of possibility, and we drift slowly into a world devoid of anything special, unique or magnificent. Only darkness, doubt and bitterness remain when we lose the ability to trust.
Why, then, do so many people so easily say, "I have trust issues?" The answer is simple enough. The painful moments of life have left no one untouched. No heart is free of scars, and each of us carries our own demons. Some have been left, lied to, cheated, or abused. Others have been fed the lie that they do not deserve anything good for so long that they have started to believe it. The truth is that we are all the walking battered, bruised and broken. We have all had our share of hard life lessons.
But, is it really a badge of honor to be so jaded by the hardness of the world? Sure, the hardened hearts may escape some of the pain that comes with letting someone into their lives or into their hearts. Yet, if they cannot trust, they can never escape the pain of loneliness or the looming shadow of doubt. Furthermore, if we cannot trust, how can we believe in love, in dreams, or that good exists? I think that the true feat—the true badge of courage—is to look the painful moments of life in the eye, acknowledge the depths of your scars, and remain tender hearted.
Am I suggesting that blind trust and blind giving of the heart are the smartest options in life? Certainly not—but, I am suggesting that maybe the world would be a little better off if there was a little more faith in our fellow people and a little less doubt. Perhaps, if we could open our eyes to the sincerity and beauty within each other—instead of looking at each other through the doubt-tinted lenses of our own pain—perhaps, then we could avoid hurting each other just a little bit. And, maybe it's idealistic to believe, but maybe some hearts just need to have someone place a shred of trust in them. Maybe, with an ounce of trust, the most wounded hearts could begin to see and believe that they do deserve more.
Essentially, I believe that trust is the root of everything real in life—relationships, friendships, dreams, faith, and love. It is imperative to truly live a beautiful and fulfilled life. So, although it hurts at times, I will not allow the world to harden me, in spite of its seemingly pointed attempts to leave me jaded, angry, and doubtful. I will trust in hopes that beauty in life does exist, and I will walk from the wreckage of failures, heartaches, and mistakes with my head held high. Quite simply, the tender hearted in the world are the dreamers, the beauty seekers, and the believers. I will not let life's storms steal my faith, my trust or my hope. Therefore, I shall trust.
Trust is beautiful, and there is good in each of us that deserves to be trusted.